Food for thought: bookshops close while sale of edibles increases


The number of physical shops to open in the Netherlands has risen for the first time in 12 years as people choose food over books, preliminary figures from national statistics agency CBS show.

On January 1 2022 there were 83,800 shops in the Netherlands, some 655 more than last year. However, the total of physical shops has gone down by 13,000 since 2010 and the number of online retailers showed a 28% growth compared to 2021, continuing the upward trend.

Some 16% of all shops sell clothing, followed by shops selling household goods and supermarkets which make up 8% each of all retail outlets. The number of bakeries went up by 4.7%.

Bookshops and shops selling magazines and stationary tumbled the most, with their number declining 8 % and 7% respectively. In 2021 more bookshops closed than in the preceding three years put together.

Online sales shot up by 19% but physical bookshops suffered because of the lockdown of the first few months of 2021 and the pre-Christmas closure, book promotion organisation CPNB said.

Despite attempts to persuade people to ‘buy local’, the number of books sold in shops fell by 7%.

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